Last month, while we were gearing up for Austin City Limits Festival, Austin’s costumed crusaders of avant jazz and funk, Golden Dawn Arkestra, took their traveling circus of sight and sound to the old country for a European tour. We hit up sax man Topaz McGarrigle a.k.a. Zapot Mgawi for the skinny on how it all went down.
Austin360: How long were you on tour and how many cities did you hit?
Topaz McGarrigle: We were gone about 2 1/2 weeks and I think we hit 13 cities.
What city had the best crowds?
My favorite was Luxembourg. It was a sold out show, the energy was electric and they kept asking for more encores. Also Berlin was awesome, we played a Monday night and the place was packed out and raging.
What was your most interesting interaction with a fan?
Hmmm, I got called out for using glitter because of our message of respecting the earthship. That had never happened before. We are now on the hunt for biodegradable glitter.
Any crazy stories?
Oh we can’t divulge what happens on the spaceship! What happens on the spaceship stays on the spaceship. At one point while traveling by diesel van I put gas in it, we were on the way to play a really big TV show in Paris, the van was sputtering and literally stopped running as we pulled up to the sound stage! We had it towed and cleaned out and it was fine, but heads up, gazole is french for Diesel.
One of our bandmates found out she was pregnant.
What was the weirdest thing or where was weirdest place you ate?
We played a festival on a small island off Holland and they had the most unbelievable food imaginable for a festival. It was like a magical gnome island where they serve you sushi and gourmet meals while you listen to incredible music. Zumbi and I had some amazing local shellfish. One was kind of like crawfish, but from the sea, the other was crab. We couldn’t figure out how to eat the crab as it was harder than any crab we’d ever had, so we took it to the chef and ask him how to eat it. He took it off the plate (they only use real plates and silverware at this festival) put it on the table and bashed the whole thing open with his fist.
What did you miss most about Austin?
Nothing. Just kidding, Barton Springs and iced tea!
How far did your hygiene slide?
Lets just say its hard when you’re wearing the same costume every night and none of the venues have AC.
Golden Dawn Arkestra’s next Austin show will be at the Mohawk on November 19.